Tweaks to Existing Innovations & Introducing a New One

For several years now, Mark Zarb and I have corroborated numerous innovations and ideas with regard to APBA Football. Mark is the “brains”, he comes up with the conceptual ideas and transforms them into procedures or innovations. I apply those ideas/innovations to my replays to determine the effectiveness. Now, that Mark is playing full-time, we have double the data points to determine if it “works or not”.

The primary reason I replayed the 1969 AFL season was to be able to compare the statistics of the two replays. The following is the four objectives that I evaluated:

Objective 1. Assess adjustment to Fletch67 defensive ratings and Key against the Run.

Objective 2. Assess change to Double Coverage (Keying) formula for both Neutral and Situational downs.

Objective 3. Assess if change to “Situational Down and Distance” chart affected opponent’s ability to convert third down.

Objective 4. Assess frequency and playability of new “Pass Rush Impact” innovation.

Test Report 



Oguard’s take on “Home Field Advantage”

There has been a lot of talk about “Home Field Advantage” lately and it occurred to me that all the focus has been on the team’s performance (record) while playing in their home stadium. Last Sunday while I was watching the fourth quarter of the Cincinnati – Denver game it occurred to me that at times, it’s the venue itself that provides the advantage or disadvantage. Without question, the Broncos have a distinct advantage playing at home because they are acclimated to the altitude. During that fourth quarter, I witnessed three different Cincinnati players all pull up lame due to altitude related (cramping, shortness of breath, etc.) symptoms.

So for a quick moment, let’s take our focus off the teams on the gridiron and focus on the stadium itself and its fan base. I’m sure there is more but three topics come to mind: penalties (false starts), injuries, and the kicking game.

Let’s talk about injuries. My recommendation is teams visiting Sports Authority Field at Mile High automatically have one point added to their J-rating for players who are J1 through J-3. This could provide a realistic home field advantage to the Broncos. Now let’s focus on the playing surface, nine NFL stadiums currently have Field Turf (Cincinnati, Detroit, Indianapolis, New England, Atlanta, Minnesota, St. Louis, Seattle and the new Meadowlands Stadium) which has been proven to cause a higher rate for ankle sprains. So whenever an injury occurs and the player is identified, why not roll one die and if the dice roll is a “six”, that player sprained his ankle and his effectiveness is reduced by one-point for the remainder of the game.

What impact does the fans have on the game? Just ask one of the crazed “12th” men at CenturyLink Field because they have caused more false start penalties over last three years than any other venue in the league. Here are the top five “loudest” stadiums which have contributed to the most false starts over the last three years.

  • CenturyLink Field
  • Arrowhead
  • University of Phoenix Stadium
  • Mercedes-Benz superdome
  • Lambeau Field

Food for thought, whenever the opponent is playing in one of the above venues and its third and long (greater than 7 yards), roll one die and if it is a “six” the crowd noise resulted in a false start penalty.

Last but not least, let’s look at weather conditions. NFL teams with open-air stadiums ranked by average wind speeds (windiest to least windy)

  • Buffalo/Orchard Park, New York 16.1
  • New England/Foxborough, Massachusetts 14.5
  • New York Giants/East Rutherford, New Jersey 10.1 New York Jets/East Rutherford, New Jersey 10.1
  • Kansas City, Missouri 10.6
  • San Francisco/Santa Clara, California 10.6
  • Cleveland, Ohio 10.5
  • Chicago, Illinois 10.3
  • Green Bay, Wisconsin 10.0
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 9.5
  • Washington/Landover, Maryland 9.4
  • Miami Gardens, Florida 9.2
  • Cincinnati, Ohio 9.0
  • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 9.0
  • Oakland, California 8.8
  • Seattle, Washington 8.8
  • Baltimore, Maryland 8.7
  • Denver, Colorado 8.7
  • Tampa, Florida 8.3
  • Nashville, Tennessee 8.0
  • Jacksonville, Florida 7.8
  • Charlotte, North Carolina 7.4
  • San Diego, California 7.0

This results in a mean average of 9.65, so let’s round it up to 10. Using a +2/-2 rule, if the venue you are playing at is between 12 to 8 rated, you will read the board result from the Master game booklet in accordance by rules (i.e., by quarter 1-3 and 2-4). If the venue is greater than 3 (Gillette Stadium or New Era Field (formerly Rich or Ralph Wilson) you will always use the worst line result for the visiting kicker. For stadiums with less than 3 or dome stadiums, both team’s kickers will use the more favorable column.

These are just subtle nuances that could have a major impact if it occurs at the critical juncture of a contest. Food for thought, would love to hear anyone’s thought on the matter.

Innovation – “Special Teams”

Special Team Return Charts

Since I will be introducing a new innovation by Mr. Dan Flynn on Friday, I wanted to take the time to post Mr. Mark Zarb’s “Special Teams” innovation. Mark has rated each team’s ability to cover both kick-off and punt returns. These ratings can either be A, B+, B, B- or C. Let’s say Team A is rated “B” on kickoff coverage and “B-“on punt coverage. A separate chart breaking down kickoff and punt returns into each of the aforementioned indices is included above (a sample of part of the kickoff return chart is below). In the Team A example, whenever they are covering a kick-off you would look up the result off of the returner’s card under column “B” on punt returns you would look up the result off of the returner’s card under column “B-“.

Special Team Example






Innovation Friday

A couple of weeks ago, Ray Dunlap and I were chatting about implementing a day where we post an innovation that was either previously posted several years back or a new one fresh off the press. Well as a “hat tip” to my friend, I would like to post Ray Dunlap’s very own “Pass Receiving Quota’s” that he published in the APBA Journal back in October 1989.

Without question, my favorite innovation of all time is my APBA Football brother’s, Mark Zarb, “Yards per Catch” innovation but before this was created I played countless games using Ray’s innovation. I loved it because it’s math-based, player controlled with a built in bonus for throwing to “C” index receivers. However, the best feature is his “Extended Length Passes” (ELP) which does a great job of separating the possession receivers from the either the 7.5 yards per catch running backs or the 20-yard plus deep threats.

Pass Receiving Quotas (Dunlap APBA Journal)



Innovation: Measurement

By Ray Dunlap

Many of you know that I used to be the head statistician for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers back in the 1980’s.  Well, I will never forget my first game – because I screwed up big time, and I got blasted by Steve Hirdt of the Elias Sports Bureau for messing up the yardage on certain plays, in particular those right at the first down marker.  Thank goodness it was a pre-season game!

Here’s where I made my mistake – I remember James Wilder, running on a first down play, and gaining enough yards to force a measurement, which came up short by about one inch.  Well, for me, sitting in the press box, since he gained 9 yards and 35 inches, I gave him a 10 yard run.  On the subsequent play, he carried again, and was stopped at the line, causing another measurement, this time the Bucs got the first down by an inch.  So, on this “two-inch” run, I credited Wilder with 0 yards.

Seemed logical to me.

But, the NFL rules are very specific on this point, and Hirdt made me painfully aware of it.  Wilder, by falling short of a first down, even by one inch, is credited with a NINE yard run in that circumstance.  Because, ten yards would have had to result in a first down.  Consequently, his “two-inch” run should have been credited as a one yard run.

So, I have taken this concept and applied it to APBA Football.

But first, a little background on what NOT to do.  When I ran the Suncoast Football League, I implemented a “measurement” rule that was not well thought out.  The rule was this: if the result of the play ended exactly where the first down marker was, then you would roll one die – if the result was “odd” if was a first down, if the result was “even” it was one yard short.

Well, the negative feedback that I received was furious!  And, justifiably so.  It was a completely one-sided rule that only penalized the offense, and we eliminated the measurement rule immediately.

Well, recently, I added it back in . . . but, with a twist that makes it much fairer, and gives as much benefit to the offense as the defense.  Now, when the APBA Football board result either lands exactly on the first down marker or one yard short of the marker, I will apply the same single die roll to see if it is a first down or not – “odd” first down, “even” not.

So, in the James Wilder example above, the result could have been 10 yards on the APBA boards, but an “even” die roll for the measurement would have resulted in the measurement coming up “short,” and, instead of a 10 yard gain, Wilder would be credited with a “9” yard gain.  Then, if his next run resulted in a “0” yard run on the APBA boards, effectively one yard shy of the first down, you would still roll that indicator die, and, if it comes up “odd,” then he would be credited with a one yard gain and a first down.  Exactly what I saw happen in that Pre-season game.

As you can imagine, this adds an extra level of excitement to the game playing experience and can be a lot of fun, especially near the goal line.  I have had some great goal-line drama as a result.

This innovation is very easy to implement and I think is worth considering for your APBA Football gaming experience.

As always, if you have comments, good or bad, about any of the innovations I share on this forum, I would love to hear them!

Old is New with a Twist

After reading Ray’s response to the following question “How would you score net yardage for a 41 yard punt with holding on the offensive team during the return?” it made me realize how current Master game rules contradict the NFL rules. The game company’s “punt return-penalty” rules outlined in the Master Game don’t coincide with actual NFL rules when there is clipping, offensive holding or an illegal block. APBA specifies to enforce from spot of possession resulting in “zero return yardage for applicable returner and the 10 or 15-yard penalty being enforced from spot of possession.” If memory serves me correctly, in the old football game (pre-1982) you would roll both dice together, add, and this would determine return yardage. So that gave me the idea for the following:

  • Roll both dice and add to determine return yardage. If the red die is a larger number than white die (red 5 & white 3), this indicates the infraction occurred beyond the return gain. For example, Roscoe Word fields the punt at the -20 and has an 8-yard return to the -28 but New York was penalized 10-yards for holding and the spot of the foul was the -30. I would score this as an 8-yard return for Roscoe Word and enforce the penalty from the -28 resulting in New York taking over at the -18.
  • Roll both dice and add to determine return yardage. If the red die is a smaller number than white die (red 3 & white 5), the white die will indicate the spot of the infraction. For example, Roscoe Word fields the punt at the -20 and has an 8-yard return to the -28 but New York was penalized 10-yards for holding and the spot of the foul was the -25. I would score this as a 5-yard return for Roscoe Word (ignore the red die or 3 yards) and enforce the penalty from the -25 resulting in New York taking over at the -15.
  • If you roll doubles, use this as the gain and enforce from this spot. For example, you rolled a 66 this would indicate a 12-yard gain to the -32 and the 10-yard penalty would be enforced from this spot. The Jets would take over at the -22.

I believe this will add realism and only require one additional roll that should not slow down play. In a nutshell, if red die is larger add both dice and if not, only use result of white die for the return.